Commentary: China never absent in contribution to peace, development in Middle East

2016-01-25 03:26:08 GMT2016-01-25 11:26:08(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- As Chinese president Xi Jinping wrapped up a historic trip to the Middle East Sunday, China once again demonstrated to the international community that it has never shied away from committing itself to peace and development in the region.

Choosing the Middle East as the destination for his first overseas trip in 2016, and arriving before any other world leader after nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were lifted and the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia flared up, Xi showed his resolve in constructively engaging with the struggling yet promising region.

The Middle East is one of the most strategically important regions in the world, given its crucial location and abundant resources.

For decades, Western countries have invested heavily to become a dominating power in the Middle East. However, the West-hailed "Arab Spring" uprisings that erupted in 2011 have brought the region nothing more than exacerbated poverty, frustrations and sectarian conflicts, as well as rampant extremism.

At such a critical time, China, addressing the root causes of the region's chronic crisis, offered an alternative approach emphasizing dialogue in settling disputes and development to ultimately haul the region out of the quagmire of bloodshed and terrorism.

This solution is just what China has always been offering since the People's Republic of China first established diplomatic ties with an Middle East country, Egypt, 60 years ago.

Since then, China has never ceased to work toward peaceful settlement of regional conflicts in the Middle East.

In 2013, Xi met with both Palestinian and Israeli leaders, calling on both sides to end their generation-old hostility through negotiations rather than confrontation.

In securing a historic nuclear pact last year between Iran and six world powers that is set to reduce confrontation in the region, China, with its neutral and fair stance, has played an indispensable and constructive role.

China has also acted sensibly in exploring ways of ending the turmoil grappling Syria since 2011, firmly standing against counter-productive military intervention while talking with rival sides to try to peacefully resolve their differences. In the meantime, China actively responded to the humanitarian crisis in the country, giving out millions of U.S. dollars in aid.

With his five-day tour in the Middle East, Xi reaffirmed that China's willingness to constructively engage with the region is still strong.

During Xi's trip, China upgraded its relationship with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, while vowing to add more values to its comprehensive strategic partnership with Egypt.

Economically, 52 cooperation agreements were signed between China and the three countries, covering a wide spectrum including energy, security and infrastructure.

The agreements, under the "Belt and Road" initiative, an ambitious vision Xi put forward in 2013 to boost inter-connectivity and common development along the ancient land and maritime Silk Roads, significantly expanded the depth and breadth of pragmatic cooperation between China and the Middle East.

Under the agreements, much-needed capital, construction projects and technology know-how will be presented to the Middle East, dispersing current turmoil with development and prosperity.

Facts once again prove China will never be absent in making contribution to peace and development in the Middle East.

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